Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Scientists Cryo-Freeze Coral Reef

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the zombie-coral-overruns-the-earth dept.

Earth 130

An anonymous reader writes "Due to rising ocean temperatures, scientists from the United States and Australia are attempting to freeze coral eggs and sperm in cryogenic suspension so that the endangered species can be preserved. Once frozen, the species may later be grown in a lab and implanted in reefs. This could be the only way to ensure the survival of certain endangered species at The Great Barrier Reef."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Holy fuck. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38199252)

If only those fascist commie repugs could get their fucking shit together, this wouldn't have to happen.

Re:Holy fuck. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38199430)

Last i checked, it was the greenie's trying to impose fascist eco laws on the population.

Oh, and fact is, the ocean temperatures are not rising.

So this really makes you Fascist Eco Nazi's once you drop propaganda into the equation. Now fuck off.

Re:Holy fuck. (5, Insightful)

rednip (186217) | more than 2 years ago | (#38200768)

It should be noted that at one point, it was commonplace to throw your personal waste into the street. I'm sure that there were plenty who thought that the taxes levied for building sewers were an injustice too.

Re:Holy fuck. (1)

thunderclap (972782) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203152)

No, If you look it wasn't taxes. It was people getting hit with it that used their personal weapons. Its was royalty and police scaring the hell out of people when they got hit and generally the foul stench that let to its stoppage.

Re:Holy fuck. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38201606)

So this really makes you Fascist Eco Nazi's

It is SO adorable the way Republicans use big words they've heard adults say, even though they have no idea what they mean.

Re:Holy fuck. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38199602)

If only those fascist commie repugs could get their fucking shit together, this wouldn't have to happen.

if only we had less niggers and more corals

Coral sperm? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38199270)

Huh. I always thought coral was more like plants than animals. Anyone here a coral expert or should I check out them wikipedias?

Re:Coral sperm? (5, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#38199332)

I'm no expert; but they are definitely animals. They can reproduce sexually(since they don't move around much once mature, the do a coordinated mass gamete release and let the water do the mixing). Some can also reproduce by budding or if divided.

Because they are sedentary, colony-living, and gradually form massive calcified structures, there are certain respects in which their role and macrostructure resembles that of plants(the two are enormously different biologically; but both are the major structural organism of their respective environments)...

Re:Coral sperm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38199502)

Maybe the sperm needs to DRINK YO PRUNE JUICE

Re:Coral sperm? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38199528)

What happened to natural selection? The planet constantly changes, and species die all the time, if ocean temperatures are going to kill them off how do they expect them to survive in a warmer ocean!!

""Once frozen, the species may later be grown in a lab and implanted in reefs"". You can grow them in large aquariums but putting them back in a warmer ocean seems to me kinda of pointless. They seem intent on spending money to save something that may or may not be because of man, but when man is solely to blame (ie hunters, ect..) there has to be a group of every day people to spark an outrage or to bring attention to it...

Maybe I am getting ahead of myself with what there overall plan really is. I am sure there is a detailed plan, even another press article out there.

Re:Coral sperm? (4, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 2 years ago | (#38199634)

I can see three views here:

  • Optimistic view - once we've sorted ourselves out, stopped acidifying and warming the sea, we can reintroduce them
  • Pessimistic/interfering view - we can re-seed currently cooler waters later
  • Klepto-biologist view - let's just keep hold of everything in case we need it later

Re:Coral sperm? (3, Interesting)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 2 years ago | (#38199692)

What happened to natural selection? The planet constantly changes, and species die all the time, if ocean temperatures are going to kill them off how do they expect them to survive in a warmer ocean!!

I've wondered this too. The seas tend to change by a foot or more every 200 years, with evidence of massive water level drops happening several times in the past. Either Coral is more resilient than we give it credit for, or this wide variety of coral appeared in just a few hundred years since the last major temperature/water level swing. Either way, there's definitely a major clue missing here. Huge chunks of Florida (Miami in particular) sit on top of ancient coral reefs. I mean, check out Coral Gables' Venetian Pool [] - where did all this coral come from? What happened to those species? That part of Florida no longer has reefs, nor has it had them for hundreds if not thousands of years. I think the Biologists and the Geologists need to get together and decide what's actually going on.

Re:Coral sperm? (2)

skids (119237) | more than 2 years ago | (#38202192)

The reason is the rate of change in certain parameters surpasses what we think species can adapt through. Yes, evolution and natural selection adapts to change, but the rate at which it absorbs change is limited, as evidenced by past mass extinction events. If ocean acidification were happening on a much slower timescale, then there would be much less reason for concern. As it is, we are setting the stage for a trophic cascade [] .

Re:Coral sperm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38202384)

think the Biologists and the Geologists need to get together and decide what's actually going on.

Are you volunteering to give them lessons? It seems like you have access to better information than all those marine biologists.

Re:Coral sperm? (1)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 2 years ago | (#38199838)

It's not about the coral, really. Heck, whenever people are talking about saving anything in the environment, that's really just a means to an end.

See, the thing is, if the coral all die off, the theory is that there will be, so to speak, an unfortunate series of events. And that series of events has a small but non-zero chance of causing a mass die off of the human population.

So what we're buying with this effort is hope, however vain, of our survival.

Oh, and last, but not least, it's not exactly "natural selection" if it's caused by careless poisoning by one species. I'd even accept "natural selection" for animals that we've hunted to extinction for food purposes. But if we're killing off coral with pollution and indirectly via our role in global warming, then shrugging your shoulders and saying "natural selection" is disingenuous.

Of course, if the human race kills itself off first and the coral renews itself, I'd accept that as natural selection. I have a feeling that large chunks of our population are due up for a Darwin Award.

Re:Coral sperm? (1)

foobsr (693224) | more than 2 years ago | (#38200366)

large chunks of our population are due up for a Darwin Award

Which brings us back to natural selection when the chain of events that you suggest happens. Nothing of big value would be lost.


Re:Coral sperm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38200736)

To reply to your comments..

If the oceans are warming up it is believed it will, or has already set of a chain reaction, saving the reefs perhaps to genetically alter them for the conditions the oceans will be in the future makes sense like the one poster suggested. I agree that man has caused pollution to the oceans, not only pollution but we have over fished the oceans and caused existing life to take over and become invasive species the Japanese face a jelly fish population that has caused there commercial fishing to just about come to an end. The planet was apparently in an ice age and it slowly melted over time, this is still going on, the question becomes how big of an impact has the human race played to speed up this process??
Does it concern me? Yes it does, will I be alive to witness it probably not. It seems that religion says the world will end so I am guessing everyone is in a free-for-all mode, as well as corporations. Death or dying does not effect me the way it it does you, I am going to join in on the free-for-all, hell no, and I am not skilled in science to help forth the effort. There are numerous people that want to stop or slow mankind down, but science is the only thing that could reverse what is going on. And I am curious if religion was removed from the human race, or at least the end of the world BS, if man would be more caring towards there future? Of course if money was not a motivating factor would also make us better off.

The human race is subject to natural selection, diseases and viruses, will probably take most of us out before global warming finishes us off that is the only way mans impact will be slowed or even put at a stand still. We seem be our own worse enemy, however other cultures could live good lives and take as they needed, Native Americans are an example. Until the US government killed them off or put them in more or less concentration camps (reservations) they survived without having any major virus or disease of course until the small pox virus was used on them. So would you call this Natural Selection? Human destroying each other over something a simple as land? If so why worry about global warming?

Re:Coral sperm? (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 2 years ago | (#38200826)

Oh, and last, but not least, it's not exactly "natural selection" if it's caused by careless poisoning by one species.

If a species cannot survive because of side-effects of another doing its own thing, then it most certainly is natural selection when the species doesn't survive.

Just because the acting-species is mankind in this case doesnt change shit.

It also seems to me that certain coral species are the product of crappy mutations if they can only survive in only one single location within our massive ocean, and then also the CO2 levels cant go higher even though historically CO2 levels have frequently cycled way above current levels. The species is specialization into too small a volume and as predicted by prophecy its not working out. Doesn't matter how great things have been so far.. this species have no chance even without mankind.

Try to freeze some of its eggs and sperm? Sure.. why not? But to be surprised that such a weak species is dying off? fuck that.

Re:Coral sperm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38201786)

You are a lot weaker than you think. Kill off enough stuff, cut down enough trees, pave over enough farm land, contaminate enough fresh water and eventually humans will start dieing off.

Re:Coral sperm? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203334)

The difference is that we're very efficient killing machines. How many other species routinely kill off entire species.

I realize that there's a lot of libertards and otherwise extremely self centered people that genuinely don't give a fuck, but that's why we have a government so that whackos like that don't fuck things up for the rest of us. The science is very clear that allowing the levels to change this rapidly is a bad idea, now if the science later reveals that we were wrong, we can loosen up. Unfortunately if we decide now to let everything go extinct it's going to be a hell of a lot more expensive and difficult, assuming it's possible at all, to fix things.

Re:Coral sperm? (2)

Rhodri Mawr (862554) | more than 2 years ago | (#38200854)

Obligatory Matrix Reference:

I'd like to share a revelation that I've had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species. I've realized that you are not actually mammals. (Smiles) Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment. But you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. (Leans forward) There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You are a plague. And we are... the cure.
- That is the sound of inevitability.

Re:Coral sperm? (4, Insightful)

xelah (176252) | more than 2 years ago | (#38200356)

What happened to natural selection? The planet constantly changes, and species die all the time, if ocean temperatures are going to kill them off how do they expect them to survive in a warmer ocean!!

Natural selection is still there. But natural selection is a process, not a goal or a reason or a definition of what ought to happen. Yes, species die all the time, but that's not a good reason not to try to preserve them, even if they can never be re-established in the wild.

I didn't think it was ocean temperatures which were the problem for coral (if so, there must be cooler oceans somewhere), I thought it was ocean chemistry and pH? From what I remember of a lecture on that given by someone studying it, higher CO2 acidifies oceans but this also increases erosion rates on-land, washing more calcium-laden water in to the oceans.....and the past CO2 rises were slow enough to keep ocean chemistry much more balanced, whereas the current one is not.

Maybe I am getting ahead of myself with what there overall plan really is. I am sure there is a detailed plan, even another press article out there.

I wouldn't personally trust a journalist an inch to get across a balanced view of the motivation of even a single scientist, never mind the reasons for doing something. In any case, I can't see why there should be a specific plan. An obvious reason for wanting to preserve and grow these things in captivity is for future research, which could have unknown benefits or at the very least merely be interesting. And if a reason arises, isn't it better to have some stored coral available, providing it's at reasonable cost? Of course, if you want a 'plan' then how about genetically engineering or selecting and breeding coral to be more tolerant of different conditions?

Re:Coral sperm? (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 2 years ago | (#38202266)

You don't give a good reason to preserve them, either. Their niche will be filled or eliminated by the game changing slightly.

Natural selection works on a celestial scale, too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38202668)

It is not confined to a planet, no one said it was. We are still "in it", part of the nature. If we as a species die, then natural selection wiped us out because we were unfit or unlucky.

Now, unlike other animals, we think we can choose our own future. Because of that, we cryofreeze corals, for example.

Natural selection is coming for us and we fight back. That's all there is to it.

Re:Coral sperm? (1)

thunderclap (972782) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203214)

That is a valid question. It seems lately that Humans aren't interested in natural selection. We are interested in statis. We wanted everything to remain exactly the same. No changes at all. And if evolution is true, then things will die off regardless of our input or lack there off. Then people run screaming ZOMG! and waste money because we are at fault. And if evolution is a lie, then the same thing happens and they include God in the mix.

Re:Coral sperm? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203250)

What happened to it is that natural selection is a result of natural processes and tends to happen rather slowly in response to gradual shifts in environmental conditions. Whereas this is man made and both significantly faster and longer in duration than anything that typically happens. If it were more gradual but man made it probably wouldn't be worth worrying about, but natural or not, it's not good for us to have the planet changing so quickly.

Seems to me that you might do well to crack some books rather than regurgitating that sort of pseudo-scientific bunk.

Re:Coral sperm? (4, Interesting)

blackicye (760472) | more than 2 years ago | (#38199652)

Coral given ideal (artificial) growth conditions such as those in Marine Aquarists' tanks can actually grow fairly rapidly.

In the Marine Aquarist Community both Soft (LPS) and Hard (SPS) coral is usually traded as "frags" (fragments or cuttings off a mother colony,) and they can
more than quadruple in size over the course of a year given ideal flow, nutrient, light and water chemistry conditions.

Re:Coral sperm? (2)

xelah (176252) | more than 2 years ago | (#38200274)

I'm no expert; but they are definitely animals. They can reproduce sexually(since they don't move around much once mature, the do a coordinated mass gamete release and let the water do the mixing). Some can also reproduce by budding or if divided.

I'm not so sure that reproducing sexually is the reason they're classified as animals. Yeast, for example, also reproduces sexually (and by budding or division). Possibly it has more to do with having mouths and eating food.

Re:Coral sperm? (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 2 years ago | (#38201198)

Many flowering plants also reproduce sexually. For example, holly bushes are either male or female. The berries only appear on the female holly bushes and only if there is a male holly bush within 12 feet or so.

Re:Coral sperm? (1)

thunderclap (972782) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203292)

Well there is a rule 34 I would love to see.

Re:Coral sperm? (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38200862)

Corals are animals (multicellular heterotrophs) in the Phylum Cnidaria [] , the same group that includes jellyfish and sea anemones. They eat things. They have a mouth and gut to digest food and tentacles with stinging cells to snare prey. In addition, most modern-day reef-forming corals living in shallow water also have symbiotic algae known as zooxanthellae [] . In corals these are most often single-celled creatures called dinoflagellates [] . As separate creatures dinoflagellates are quite diverse and can either be heterotrophs (eat things) photoautotrophs (photosynthetic) or both at the same time (mixotrophs), but the zooxanthellate ones in corals are invariably the photosynthetic types. Dinoflagellates are not "plants" in the traditional sense of the word (multicellular photosynthetic land plants), but are considered protists [] , a category that includes mostly single-celled creatures with a nucleus and other eukaryotic [] structures. To make things stranger, a lot of dinoflagellates are photosynthetic because they themselves contain recognizable symbiotic algae or their remnants in the form of chloroplasts. But if you wanted to generalize, it's kind of like you have an animal (corals) with photosynthetic "plants" (zooxanthellae/dinoflagellates) that live inside them, which themselves have symbiotic photosynthetic structures inside of them.

Wow (0)

ShooterNeo (555040) | more than 2 years ago | (#38199280)

Sure be nice if we could work on freezing entire human beings this same way. Maybe humanity as a species isn't endangered, but "natural" death means that every human being alive today will be gone within slightly over a century, gone like they never existed in the first place. You could view this as extinction of all of humanity and replacing it with a new population.

This, by the way, is the reason so many of us believe religious fairy tales. Because if we let those stories go..acknowledge that the most accurate view of the world is based on empirical evidence...then we know that when we die, it's oblivion forever like we never lived in the first place.

Re:Wow (2, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#38199386)

It would certainly be an impressive feat(and, if capable of being used on scene, sure would be handy for all those "He needs to be prepped and being worked on by the trauma surgeon 10 minutes ago or he'll die" ambulance calls...); but it would be of only modest use for the mortality problem...

While frozen, the organism is metabolically inactive(by design). Dead, albeit reversibly so. Simply being cryoed would be more or less identical to dying, save that they can wake you up at some future time. And, if they wake you up, you still have whatever issues you had when you went under. If you have sufficiently accommodating family and/or some clever flavor of legally immortal trust supervising your affairs, it might be a decent way of halting fatal diseases until other suckers have finished the clinical R&D and come up with something effective; but even in that best case it would actually be pretty weird:

Just imagine a situation where a serious accident, or the wrong diagnosis would mean going on ice for 20 years, before being revived and repaired. It wouldn't have quite the permanence of death; but it'd be weird if you, or people around you, could just 'get iced', starting a near-death process of absence and loss; and then pop back up in a decade or three with no time having passed for them. Somebody better than me could probably wring a neat sci-fi story out of it, a world where the risk of the separation and loss that accompanies death is still very real; but most 'deaths'(excluding things like explosions or intense fires and the like) are really just freeze periods of unknown duration.

How much would it fuck with your head to have your spouse or child 'die', and then show up again exactly as they were when they died, but with everybody else that much older, and having lived without them? It'd be weird...

Re:Wow (1)

admiralranga (2007120) | more than 2 years ago | (#38199614)

Not exactly the same (it uses time dilation for the age differences) but quite a similar concept is explored in Joe Haldeman's "The Forever War"

Re:Wow (1)

ShooterNeo (555040) | more than 2 years ago | (#38199632)

"Of modest use". You could buy CENTURIES to work on the mortality problem if this technique worked. With enough centuries to work on the bio sciences, eventually we would learn how to strip down and overhaul the whole damn human body, replacing every last broken cell if we had to.

Not to mention if you ever (within 50-1000 years) developed molecular nanotechnology, you could just deconstruct the frozen human body to a molecular mapping in a computer, repair all the damage in software, and print out a new body with all the problems fixed. While doing this, make a backup copy so if the original were to be killed you can still bring them back.

I guess in the loooooooonnnngggg run mortality would win. The universe will run out of fuel, etc. But a lifespan of potentially millions or billions of years is so close to immortality by our standards we might as well call it that.

Re:Wow (1)

Plunky (929104) | more than 2 years ago | (#38199842)

You could buy CENTURIES to work on the mortality problem if this technique worked.

And then you come up against another problem, that of the future peoples not wanting your ancient presence messing up their society. When there are millions of 'dead' people in storage and the world is overcrowded there will be no incentive to get them out. Nor if the world is sparsely populated.

Any effective longevity treatment will be for the 1%, make no mistake about that..

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38199642)

Lois McMaster Bujold's novel, Cryoburn, explores this exact concept: a planet where people freeze themselves while waiting for some process to grant them immortality to be developped. Their estates are held in trust by the corporations which maintain their frozen bodies, while the society formed by the living centers around maintaining the massive graveyard of frozen bodies and building up the wealth for them to freeze themselves, in turn. Very nice exploration of the themes and issues involved.

Re:Wow (1)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 2 years ago | (#38199844)

Don't forget "The First Immortal", sequel to "The Truth Machine".

Re:Wow (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38199392)

By 'In this same way' do you perhaps mean something like how they cryo store human sperm and eggs for assisted pregnancy millions of times around the world, every day?

Or do you perhaps mean 'in some completely different way, entirely unrelated to the story'?

whatever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38199288)

It won't make much difference if the oceans are acidified to the point that calcification is impossible.

Re:whatever (4, Interesting)

tloh (451585) | more than 2 years ago | (#38199414)

Ocean acidification, although a daunting problem, isn't irreversible. The idea of saving just coral sperm and eggs doesn't sound like a well thought out solution, though. A coral reef is more than just bare coral. It is a matrix upon which an entire ecosystem is based. Does't the rest of habitat need saving as well? Imagine saving a place on land from soil erosion, but the hill or valley is completely barren with no plant or animal diversity.

Re:whatever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38199538)

the ecosystem forms on the coral.
it might not be the same as now though.

but conserving everything as it was in 1999 is a thought for the matrix anyways.

Re:whatever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38199592)

So your argument is they should just let the hill wash away, aka let it all die.

Good to see you thinking things through like that. Perhaps they already thought of such things, and of course: you have to start somewhere.

freezing and storing stuff is cheap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38199748)

Yes, it might not be a good plan, but freezing and storing animals is cheap, so why not freeze them just in case?

Too late :( (5, Insightful)

ihaveamo (989662) | more than 2 years ago | (#38199316)

I live near the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. It's bleached. Dead. Its one of the saddest things I have ever seen. Lots of tourists coming over asking where the "colorful" reef is, like in the brochure. I reply "oh, like in the 80's? Your 30 years too late". If you want proof of global warming / ocean acidification, look no further.

Well maybe not too late, but just in time.

Re:Too late :( (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38199336)

The Great Barrier Reef is a lie too!

Re:Too late :( (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38199362)

Reminds me of visiting Key West, Florida and going out on a diving boat. All those dead, white coral heads. Thank pollution, treasure hunters for it. Yeah, Humans - the animal that fouls its nest for fun and profit.

Re:Too late :( (2)

delvsional (745684) | more than 2 years ago | (#38200152)

Reminds me of visiting Key West, Florida and going out on a diving boat. All those dead, white coral heads. Thank pollution, treasure hunters for it. Yeah, Humans - the animal that fouls its nest for fun and profit.

actually most of that reef is dead because of the overuse by tourists who have no idea why they shouldn't stand and kick the reefs. There are live reefs around there but not that any of the tourist boats will take tourists to. even the ones that aren't totally bleached still have problems, but the tourist trap ones are totally destroyed.

Re:Too late :( (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38200258)

Yeah, but spring break 1989 was soooo rad, dude!

Re:Too late :( (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38200286)

Don't generalize with a capitalized Humans. Empires and industrialization fouls for fun and profit.

Shit, even the greatest democracy in the world had no waste.

Re:Too late :( (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38199420)

"I live near the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. It's bleached."

The Great Barrier Reef suffers from periodic bleaching events, thought they're likely to get worse in the future. The coral, so far, mostly recovers between events.

Re:Too late :( (4, Informative)

gregrah (1605707) | more than 2 years ago | (#38199458)

Another possible explanation for why the reef isn't as colorful [] as in the brochures: cheating on the part of the photographers.

The longer wavelengths of sunlight (such as red or orange) are absorbed quickly by the surrounding water, so even to the naked eye everything appears blue-green in color. The loss of color not only increases vertically through the water column, but also horizontally, so subjects further away from the camera will also appear colorless and indistinct. This effect is true even in apparently clear water, such as that found around tropical coral reefs.

Underwater photographers solve this problem by combining two techniques. The first is to get the camera as close to the photographic subject as possible, minimizing the horizontal loss of color. Wide-angle lenses allow very close focus, or macro lenses, where the subject is often only inches away from the camera. Many serious underwater photographers consider any more than about 3 ft/1 m of water between camera and subject to be unacceptable. The second technique is the use of flash to restore any color lost vertically through the water column. Fill flash, used effectively, will "paint" in any missing colors by providing full-spectrum visible light to the overall exposure.

Re:Too late :( (5, Insightful)

ckhorne (940312) | more than 2 years ago | (#38199678)

As both an underwater photographer and a reef keeping hobbyist, I'd have to refute your claim. When you dive, your brain fills in the missing reds, yellows, etc - you don't notice the lack of color underwater near as much as you think you would. You definitely notice bleaching however - the coral is stark white at first, and then then becomes brown or green with algae.

It's certainly true that underwater strobes provide fill light to corals in exactly the same way that a studio photographer will use strobes to light his model. However, if the colors aren't there to begin with, they're not going to be magically created by the strobes.

In the end, the grandparent poster was correct- either the picture was from years ago or the photo may have been taken from a different part of the world.

Re:Too late :( (2)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38199718)

Yeah here is the first photo [] I came across with a Yahoo Search, the thing looks like snow on the water. I kinda doubt that all the flash in the world is gonna make that look like the old Mutual of Omaha videos.

The problem as I see it is we in the west can't really do shit. if we try to without China and India getting involved all we do is commit economic suicide while they just crank out the pollution. unless we in the west are ready to tell the money men to fuck right off and adopt a true isolationist stance and refuse to trade with those that pollute then all we do with scams like cap and trade is export the pollution while handing out checks to the big companies for sending it all overseas.

Re:Too late :( (2)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#38199806)

The problem as I see it is we in the west can't really do shit.

Stop buying Chinese goods and stop outsourcing to India?

Re:Too late :( (2)

xelah (176252) | more than 2 years ago | (#38200476)

The problem as I see it is we in the west can't really do shit.

Stop buying Chinese goods and stop outsourcing to India?

That won't, in the end, stop China and India from developing and industrializing. Some manufacturing would certainly move back to western countries and maybe be done more energy efficiently and cleanly, but as China and India develop consumption by their own populations that'll swamp the effect of western consumption.

That's certainly not an excuse for not doing anything! Ultimately, everyone on the planet should use only their fair share of its pollution absorbing capacity. China and India themselves may wish to limit their pollution, too, for the same reasons the west does. But it's difficult to tell them that they're only allowed a tiny fraction of the pollution-per-person that the west is allowed. At a minimum, the west must do it, too, ultimately to the level we wish China and India to stick to. They probably won't, but it'll certainly be politically impossible to push them in to cutting back if we don't do it, too.

Re:Too late :( (1)

Olduvai (1153083) | more than 2 years ago | (#38200232)

Can't do shit or don't give a shit? Relax, your grand-children won't even know what they're missing.

Re:Too late :( (1)

Walter White (1573805) | more than 2 years ago | (#38201362)

The problem as I see it is we in the west can't really do shit. if we try to without China and India getting involved all we do is commit economic suicide while they just crank out the pollution.

I suppose that's as good an excuse as any for not taking the lead.

I'm getting close to 60 years old and I recall a time in the past when the west (and the US specifically) used to lead the world. It seems like that time is slipping away.

Re:Too late :( (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38200912)

It's not the brain. It's the eye. Much of color perception begins in the retina, with "center-surround" behavior of optical sensors enhancing edge contrasts. This is why the same object in different types of light will appear the same color, it contrasts with its surroundings. This is the basis of numerous optical illusions. The detection of *edges*, to tell both colors and objects apart, is vital to normal vision. It's also something that a lot of digital cameras completely screw up.

Re:Too late :( (2)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 2 years ago | (#38199790)

I take it you've never been to the great barrier reef. Quite a lot of it is right on the surface of the water which is why it shows up quite clearly on satellite pictures. Less than 1metre deep the vertical loss of light is not all that relevant yet. Find a spot with live corals in it and the view will blow your mind.

Also there's a big difference between dull, blue, and bleached. Much of the coral here isn't dull, it's flat out white. This also happens to show up quite well when you get up close to it and use an artificial light source.

Re:Too late :( (2)

gregrah (1605707) | more than 2 years ago | (#38200010)

For the record let me just say that I went scuba diving at the great barrier reef back in 2005.

It was a wonderful experience that I'll never forget, and it is a great shame that climate change is causing the coral to become bleached and die off. However, everything that I saw - including the fish, which to the best of my knowledge do not suffer the same effects of bleaching that coral does - was without question much less colorful than what is shown in the travel brochures.

Again - I'm not disputing that bleaching occurs or that the reef is in danger... just pointing out that the specific example of a tourist complaining about less-vivid-than-expected-colors doesn't really qualify as solid evidence or give a good idea as to the scope of the problem. It's the equivalent of me saying "I heard several tourists complaining about the heat while visiting the grand canyon this summer - it's a crying shame that global warming is ruining peoples' enjoyment of this natural wonder".

Re:Too late :( (3, Interesting)

robow (1609129) | more than 2 years ago | (#38201172)

Here is a cool trick, in the Summer take a hand full of M&M's, dive to the bottom of a pool and take a look. If you have more than about 4 feet of water over you you will not be able to tell the red from the blue. Red wavelengths of light are generally filtered out after a meter or so of water. The deeper you go the more color gets lost.

Re:Too late :( (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38199588)

Maybe some of the reef near you is bleached, but to say the reef (which is huge) is dead is hyperbole.

Re:Too late :( (1)

ibsteve2u (1184603) | more than 2 years ago | (#38199768)

Sounds like the American Northwest...if you can remember what it looked like in the '70s and '80s, you prefer lots of altitude when you fly over so that you can't see the mountainsides which have been swept entirely clean or where variety has been replaced by monoculture.

Re:Too late :( (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38199864)

I used to dive in the red sea over in egypt. Its still colorful now, but its starting to wear down much the same way the barrier reef is. In another ten years or so that will be gone as well. A shame that my kids may not ever see such beauty.

Re:Too late :( (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38200182)

I'm reminded of the asshole liberal "scientists" that have to constantly interfere with nature. You know the one's that have to check eagle eggs every day or bother eagles by never leaving them alone. "No I can't just count the eggs, I can't just watch from afar, I have to handle the eggs, chicks, and adults as often as I can. That's the only way to get accurate results." Then they sit and ponder why the parents abandon the nest or just plain leave. "Hmmm, it must be climate change!!!", they proclaim. It's never ending, these "scientists" aka glamor documentarists bother more species and end up disrupting the animals lives more than any amount of civilization ever did. The next time you watch a documentary you have to realize there are 50 other people there too. All lined up like paparazzi. Everyone is doing their own thing, messing with the animals. "Why did they die?" I know why, it's because you didn't leave them the fuck alone. How would you feel to be bothered every day? Every day you ask? Yes every day. These bastards don't just do a quick study for a week. No they are there underfoot of the animals every day of the year. When they get tired they just bring out more assholes to take their place. Filming, touching, probing, on and on. At least once a week tranquilized and measured. "Sure enough his dick is the same length. We better study this some more, you know because I am so much smarter than anyone who has come before me. I dare not use their findings. It's obvious they are wrong because I'm from generation Z and I can use Google."

And I don't even what to hear that it doesn't happen or isn't common, been there, seen it, don't want anything to do with it again.

Re:Too late :( (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38200322)

It reminds me of sitting on the front porch of my family's ranch house and watching the two dozen wild turkeys in my front yard while I am having my morning coffee. All of a sudden, they leave. Then the hunters come. No kills. They leave. And then the turkeys come back.

These are grade-A rednecks. So please don't pour on the liberalism. They sound like academic kids, scholars if you will. Scholars never did anything. They're out to prove something. And these "scientists" you refer to, I'm sure you've seen them in unknown terrain? It always reminds of that kid in elementary school that no one picked for basketball. Time out, asthma.

The original news clip (2)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#38199380)

The news clip [] broadcasted last evening on ABC.

never too late! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38199396)

Enabling the future human race to re-populate the ocean.
Now we just have to do the same for all the other endangered species in the world :)

A better idea (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38199438)

This could be the only way to ensure the survival of certain endangered species...

Or, you know, we could clean up our act and treat the earth better. I'm pretty sure that one of the species that is going to be endangered is us if we don't.

Re:A better idea (0)

Nimey (114278) | more than 2 years ago | (#38201770)

But then we might have to pay taxes, and government is inherently evil and taxes are socialist.

We Are Screwing Things Up So Badly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38199490)

For the love of the planet, release that new Dutch H5N1 super virus now!

No kidding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38199582)

there is a human virus out there already which leaves a significant number of men sterile and it wasn't fatal.. I totally forget its name... Somebody needs to mix that with the common cold! That would help everybody a lot and its random nature would be more fair than trying to implement any restraints on selfish procreation that has been going rampant for far too long. We should never exceed 1 billion people. ever. that might be too high; too many of us work at stupid jobs that actually do nothing for humankind and robotics + AI will remove even more jobs. The whole economic religion we have can't continue forever.

Finding Nemo 2 (1)

DreamMaster (175517) | more than 2 years ago | (#38199558)

And just like that we've got a wonderful outline for a sequel to Finding Nemo, as they try to recover coral eggs that the humans have stolen. :)

Freeze-dried Coral reef? (1)

Spy Handler (822350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38199734)

sounds yummy... like the astronaut food they sell at the Smithsonian.

Re:Freeze-dried Coral reef? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38200074)

Umm... more like freeze-dried Coral reef sperm there buddy. But hey, if that's what you find yummy, bon appetit.

Re:Freeze-dried Coral reef? (1)

Olduvai (1153083) | more than 2 years ago | (#38200262)

Well, once the caviar is gone...

Coral Sea Monkeys! (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38199750)

This is what we need: []

In "Coral Reef" flavor.

If we can convince a private company to produce coral versions of these we're all set. The company can profit from the sales as novelty items for kids with short attention spans. And scientists can just empty a packet into a fish bowl of water whenever needed.

Win-Win all around.

We might need to do a bit of work on the lifespan issue, though.

Re:Coral Sea Monkeys! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38200234)

Many people already grow their own coral. There are several clubs across the country and even coral meets. []

So uh.... Silly question... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38199814)

Where the hell are we going to 'plant' these things after ruin the reefs that exist...

Save some now so we can destroy the reef and then fix it and THEN replant... Instead of um... idk.. just not fucking up the reef in the first place?

I think i see a wasted step here...

Cryogenic suspension... (1)

mihalisgr (2493310) | more than 2 years ago | (#38199852)

So, they are actually killing them to help "prevent extinction"?

Re:Cryogenic suspension... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38200424)

Seems like they could just open exhibits at public aquariums. Or even introduce them to existing reef exhibits.
Or even just distribute some specimens to the public. Private aquarists would most likely gladly grow them, propagate them, and then fragment and trade them, especially if they look good. Even if they don't, though.

Orwellian Darwinism (0)

JamesonLewis3rd (1035172) | more than 2 years ago | (#38200268)

Witness the devolution of evolution.
Not to mention the clever assurance of job security for decades (if not centuries) into the future fastidiously babysitting the bodily fluids of hapless coral.

Freezing brains of certain scientists and others (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38200568)

Responsible for superheating the ionosphere and raising the earth's ambient temperatures globally should be high on the list of someone in a position of AUTHORITY if we have any hope of stopping this madness. Flipflopping the magnetosphere, creating disastrous weather, causing earthquakes and everything else under the sun is trumping every good scientific experiment out there. WTF is the matter with you MFs?

Missing from summary (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 2 years ago | (#38200602)

That the coral was frozen while trying to deliver a pizza to I. C. Weiner .

IANACS, so could someone explain? (3, Insightful)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 2 years ago | (#38200620)

Aren't corals one of the oldest lifeforms on the planet? As far as I recall, they've survived at least a couple of the 'great extinctions' - so as a widespread species they're at least 200 million years old. I know they're found abundantly in fossils at least 100 million years old.

And within that last 200 million years, the earth has been (both) substantially warmer and colder for long periods of time, as well as strikingly quick changes of several degrees in both directions (fast enough to appear as 'instant' in a climatological scale - otherwise comparable to the current shift). So clearly they can survive both large and quick changes.

So how is it that they're so desperately endangered? Is it that "corals" are at risk (as the news stories say) or is it that THESE corals are at risk but there are other places that were formerly unfavorable to corals that are now optimal?

I am not a coral scientist, so if someone could explain, that would be great.

Re:IANACS, so could someone explain? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38200920)

No. In a number of ways. Firstly, corals and the group to which they belong (Phylum Cnidaria) are indeed very ancient animals, and are found as fossils all the way back to the latest Precambrian, probably about 600 million years ago or so. There are older fossils, but they are single-celled creatures. Those go back at least 3 billion years or more. So, oldest animals, maybe. Oldest lifeforms, not by a long shot.

Modern day corals are a bit of an oddity because they are very young. They date from the middle Triassic Period and younger (~230 million years ago). There were many types of reef-building corals in the earlier Paleozoic era (545-250 million years ago), but they *all* became extinct during the biggest mass extinction at the boundary between the Permian and Triassic periods. For ~20 million years there were no coral reefs in the world at all until the modern scleractinian corals evolved. It is thought that these originated from mostly soft-bodied sea-anemone-like cnidarians after the original Paleozoic corals were wiped out, and there are a few fossils known of similar creatures from the Paleozoic, but they were a minor group until the others became extinct.

So, you are right about the implication that corals can survive some pretty tough stuff. On the other hand they have been entirely wiped out by major changes and it took evolution of an entirely new group before coral reefs became reestablished after about 20 million years or so. It's more like they "started over" from non-reef-building forms than survived that event.

The modern-day corals are mainly endangered because of changes in ocean chemistry related to increasing CO2 content in the atmosphere and the effect this has on their ability to grow skeletons. This is quite bad for them. Extinction kind of bad. Probably not enough to cause all of them to become extinct everywhere, but pretty likely to decimate them if it keeps going.

Re:IANACS, so could someone explain? (1)

robow (1609129) | more than 2 years ago | (#38201296)

Not long ago I saw a documentary about the evolution of coral. It discussed how there are only a handful of species and the rest are a hybrid mix of those. They explained how these "true" corals were very resilient and could survive when others died off; then when conditions permitted the other hybrids would return. They also discussed how ocean levels aided in the propagation of the corals, and allowed them to spread.

Futile (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | more than 2 years ago | (#38200670)

If the oceans degenerate to the point where no coral is left we are going to have bigger problems than "think of the coral". Valiant effort, yes, however I wish Science/People would focus on addressing the bigger problem; the reason the ocean is warming in the first place.

Re:Futile (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 2 years ago | (#38201028)

If the species that were part of the ecosystem are killed off one by one, treating it only on the "big picture" level is going to create numerous disasters that can be avoided by planning and forethought.. Like focusing only on the firewall and ignoring internal security under the claim that "once they're inside our network, we have bigger problems", cleaning up after the "big problem" is solved becomes much more difficult if the "littler problems" are entirely ignored.

Perhaps we can think of this effort as keeping code samples from earlier projects, so we don't have to start over completely when the ecosystem can support coral again.

Re:Futile (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38201870)

Thousands of scientists are. They all say reduce CO2 and water pollution.

Half of the people choose not to pay attention to them, or ridicule them for trying to get them to 'change'.

why bother? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38200706)

Maybe its too early for me, or I haven't had enough coffee.
But why bother?

Don't species go extinct? Just because? Isn't that how nature works?

Granted, you could go on about humans and their behaviour being the cause and
that somehow we are responsible for correcting it.
I don't think so.

The planet will correct itself and all will be good, it's just that we will be all dead and forgotten by the time that happens...

Save and grow what you wish to preserve. (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#38200804)

From coral to rhinos, ensure you can grow it outside its original environment.

Here's a thought (1)

Dasher42 (514179) | more than 2 years ago | (#38202582)

We've destabilized the climate and destroyed a lot of the coral habitats owing in great part to their temperature sensitivity. Seeing as they're a key species for providing habitat to whole ecosystems, I have this really odd idea. What if we selectively breed or modify coral species for greater resilience to these hostile conditions, and reintroduce them to hold onto reefs that are otherwise lost?

These are methods usually associated with liquidation of environmental capital. They should totally give you pause while you reflect on the number of things done wrong with that kind of meddling. I think that it's worth considering, though.

Complete nonsense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38202634)

Bre Pettis and his over-priced stolen design will 3D print brand new coral reef. Duh, slashdot, the future is here!

This is silly.... (2)

phamNewan (689644) | more than 2 years ago | (#38202918)

In discussions of coral and global warming, what is really being discussed is tropical coral. That is coral that lives in water that is less than 50 ft deep and is in water that is generally warmer than 18 C (64F).

All of that coral on the planet Earth (yes, all of it) is less than 10,000 years old. All of the coral that was alive 20,000 years ago died when the last ice age ended and the ocean levels changed by > 400ft. All of the Earth's previous coral died as it was too deep to survive the new depths. In the past 1,000,000 years such events have wiped all tropical coral from existence at lest 20 times.

Coral has adapted by loading the ocean up with the eggs and sperm so it can form wherever conditions are correct. This falls into the publicity stunt range of science. They got funding for something they know isn't a problem, but they get money for it anyway.

Earth's embarrassing lack of warming since 1998 (1)

bhlowe (1803290) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203226)

"NASA and the U.S. Solar Observatory has said to expect moderate global cooling for the next three decades due to a quiet period on the sun, and a consequent cooling of the Pacific Ocean’s huge heat mass." []

much ado about nothing (1)

wganz (113345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38203256)

During the last ice age, the ocean levels dropped ~40 meters and has since risen to its current level. If the coral reefs can withstand that change, it can withstand the changes whatever small changes we got in the past decades.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?